Archive for month: October, 2012


27 Oct
October 27, 2012


Good morning Martin,

It’s 7:52 am and my cold, overcooked hash browns and burnt bacon are staring at me from my plate.  Next to them is my equally undrinkable black coffee – I drink it as hot as possible, straight from the pot.

Last week, I sat here crying, well not here, in the middle diner booth, but the last one in the back, ashamed.  I was cellularly exhausted.  My new job leaving me drained in every dimension.  I wept openly.  My mother’s family, my mother herself, so noble, so proud, so brave.  What was I doing at 6 am waiting for my morning shift as a nanny.  Why? The desire to run was palpable.  I had been offered a volunteer gig in Greece, caring for and teaching others about the exquisite ocean turtles.

It was full time, with year round living in a converted train car.  Rugged yet intriguing.  My watery crush on the sea turtle is second only to the indomitable horseshoe crab – having evolved only as much as necessary, unafraid and unaware of our linear concept of time, they forge on. But to live well and prosper, multiply that is, both must indeed, dance into our linear mindset.  Leaving the safety of the blue liquid, they climb onto the sand.  Facing the headlights of our cars, intrusive condos, cruising tires, they continue the innate rituals of mating and nesting.  So too, they both suffer the same consequences.

Last week, as I wept, succulent bacon, hash browns sublimely crispy on one side/soft on the other side, and an endless flow of hot coffee soothed me.  Today, not only are the food and service different, but I am.  Not only because I don’t have to wake in the dark and gingerly close the door so I won’t disturb my roommate, but also because today my hands and my heart act as one to say thank you.  I have designated Tuesday as writing day, along with Sunday, my other blessedly late wake-up morning.  Having forgotten that today I could wake late, my alarm interrupted my dreaming at 5 sharp.  So, I lay in bed thinking about your book, and what I could possibly have to offer, and decided to listen to the advice I’ve been giving my sister: “make the most of whatever happens. This ‘falling apart’ that we 3 sisters seem to be experiencing, is going to be the best time in our lives. We can remake ourselves. Live the lives we have only imagined.” Read more →


26 Oct
October 26, 2012



A WALK IN THE  PARK [Yes, I attempt to occasionally write a nice piece of short fiction]

“You’re pathetic,” he says, his voice raw and mean-spirited, “incapable of seeing anything through to the end.”

My mother’s voice  is softer, but deceptive and equally cruel. “I wouldn’t call this just ‘anything:’ Jesus, are you really that heartless, you miserable prick?”

 On a cool summer night, I listen as the two pick and tear at each other like turkey vultures, and it is all so painfully familiar. For 33 years, their mutually-destructive communiques created a permanent war zone in our modest Brooklyn home, and the casualties were heavy: both sisters opted for suicide and my only brother is doing a 40 year stretch at Attica.

 Yet tonight, despite the fact I know they are now both in concrete vaults under mounds of damp earth, I still find myself compelled to listen to their voices – albeit now only in my head – with a sense of urgency….an unrelenting need to listen to each vowel and consonant for some sense of guidance or direction. Analyzing, rehashing and second-guessing arguments I’ve heard hundreds of times — thousands of times.

“Sometimes it just comes down to the courage of your convictions,” he says.

“Is that so?” She pauses for what seems like an eternity. “And how would YOU feel looking down the barrel of a .45, Mr. Big shot?”

He starts to speak, but the words stick in his throat. It’s over.

Tonight she will win, and in a small, remote area of my psyche marked “conscience,” it will be scored and recorded.

I slowly ease my finger off the trigger of the .45 caliber revolver and my eyes meet those of the stranger who stands before me, paralyzed with fear, in a secluded section of Central Park. “Leave your wallet and your watch and get the hell out of here. Now! Before I change my mind.”

Then, frustrated and ambivalent, I pull the mask off my face and head home to have dinner with my wife and catch the Yankee game on the tube.


A Beautiful and Poignant Song About Aging

19 Oct
October 19, 2012 YouTube Preview Image

WHAT – The New Algorithm

16 Oct
October 16, 2012

There is a new and simple algorithm that describes the challenges of upgrading our current institutional aging facilities – WHAT.


H-Human Potential




The women of color that are the backbone of this country’s network of institutional aging facilities – many of them single parents – are denied a living wage. This creates a “revolving door” phenomenon that cripples moral and destroys any sense of continuity for the residents. This cannot stand.

Human Potential In most Institutional Aging Facilities, “activities” resemble the kinds of games and puzzles you’d find in a third-grade classroom. This reflects the ‘dumbing down’ of the American institutional aging resident. Worse, it reinforces the I AM experience of aging rather than the WE ARE.

BOTH INTER AND INTRA COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES MUST REFLECT THE NEED FOR INSPIRATION, DEDICATION AND EDUCATION. People don’t stop growing, learning and contributing as they age – unless they choose to.

 Advocacy  With the exception of video-recorded physical abuse, aging Americans are without effective advocacy.

We MUST develop a timely, responsive and effective system of advocacy for this nation’s elders.

Technology We already possess the technology to enrich, protect, and educate our elders. WE MUST SEEK IT OUT                                          AND UTILIZE IT.





14 Oct
October 14, 2012


Old, infirm convicts costly to state; officials looking at alternatives

Parole to special nursing homes considered, if no threat to public safety

By Mike Ward

American-Statesman Staff

Donald Carl Rash, 61, has served nearly half of his 23-year prison sentence for robbing a convenience store in Williamson County in 1999.

Disabled and suffering from a variety of illnesses — diabetes, hepatitis C, chronic chest pain and breathing difficulties — that have left him barely able to move around, Rash asked to be paroled to a nursing center. There the federal government, not Texas taxpayers, could pick up the tab for his escalating medical expenses — easily totaling tens of thousands of dollars each year.

State parole officials have said no, insisting Rash doesn’t qualify for early release on medical grounds — a decision made in dozens of other cases in recent years.

With the Legislature certain to face a tight state budget when it convenes next January, state officials confirmed Tuesday they are exploring a plan that could parole many of the most infirm, bed-ridden offenders into secure nursing homes where the offenders could be kept track of by ankle monitoring bracelets. Read more →

Elder Wii Bowlers Face Charges in Doping Scandal

13 Oct
October 13, 2012

     A group of Wii bowlers from six assisted living facilities in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, were indicted yesterday by a Federal Grand Jury on charges of Physiological Doping for the Purpose of Racketeering – a Class B felony.”

They almost pulled it off,” said Sgt. Richard Morgan of Center Valley, Pennsylvania’s Geriatric Crime Unit. The unit – affectionately called the Geezer Squeezer by local residents – was established in 1988 to protect families living in eastern Pennsylvania from the myriad scams perpetrated by assisted living residents in their communities.

Morgan explained the Wii bowler scam . . .”A 90+ year-old resident would approach an unsuspecting family and wager that they “could bowl more games than all the family members combined.” Before they began bowling, the resident would re-inject their own blood which had been previously extracted and stored in liquid nitrogen. The new blood infusion provided a burst of fresh hemoglobin, red cells and oxygen.”

“This is so unfair,” said Richard Daws, a resident of Our Lady of Unimaginable Sorrow, an assisted living facility in Easton, Pa.,  and one of the individuals indicted.  “Of course we steal,” but how else are we to survive? I pay nearly $7,000/month for my little 450-square-foot room. Who’s gonna’ pay that $7,000 each and every month. You?”


Milton Carrero Galarza

12 Oct
October 12, 2012

Milton, a good friend and journalist for Allentown’s Morning Call, stopped by yesterday with his guitar.

YouTube Preview Image

Assisted Living Residents Give Their Community a “Thumbs Up”

12 Oct
October 12, 2012

Nine Out of Ten Assisted Living Residents Give Their Community a “Thumbs Up”

 | October 11, 2012 | Comments (0)

Responsive and caring management and staff at assisted living communities are top drivers for high satisfaction rates among residents and their families toward the communities they reside in, according to the 2011-2012 National Surveys of Customer and Employee Satisfaction in Assisted Living Communities.

When asked as to their overall satisfaction and how they would recommend the community to others as a place to receive care, the overwhelming majority of respondents (91%) and their families (92%) provided a response of either “good” or “excellent,” says the National Research Corporation, which conducted the survey. Responsiveness of management and staff, and care or concern by staff are among the list of top reasons why families and residents report satisfaction.


Chart credit: National Research Corporation, 2012 Read more →

Nursing Home Inspect

01 Oct
October 1, 2012


Find Nursing Home Problems in Your State





Use this tool to search more than 29,000 nursing home inspection reports, most completed since January 2011, and encompassing over 144,000 deficiencies. | Related Story: Search Nursing Home Inspection Reports With Our New Interactive Tool.